McLeod breaks program's career assists record, Purple Knights defeat Pace for first time

COLCHESTER, Vt. - A pair of school records fell on Friday evening as the Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team earned its first win ever against Pace University, 3-1 (25-17, 25-27, 30-28, 25-21), in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights improved to 11-6 overall and 3-4 in the Northeast-10 Conference, downing the Setters for the first time in 17 meetings since the series began in 1997. Pace is 4-19 and 0-7.

During the evening, senior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) posted a career-high 55 assists, nine digs and five kills on 10 attacks en route to breaking Carleen Roy's '96 program record for career assists, extending her total to 3,340. (Due to incomplete records, Roy's exact total is unknown, though McLeod surpassed the maximum Roy could have tallied.) First-year Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) notched 34 digs, her fourth 30-dig outing of the fall, and pushed her season digs total to 317, breaking Katie Walsh's '13 first-year school mark of 299 set in 2009.

Sophomore Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) had a career-high-tying 19 kills to go along with 19 digs and three aces, and senior Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) added 17 kills on 33 attacks. Classmate Brianna Saunders (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) had a career-best 13 kills, while junior Hillary Miller (Plattsburgh, N.Y./Plattsburgh/Colby-Sawyer) and first-year Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) provided 12 digs apiece. Senior Lindsay Phenix (Tewksbury, Mass./Central Catholic) totaled six kills on 12 swings while adding a block, breaking a tie with Annalyn Gilchrist '98 to take sole possession of 10th in program history in total blocks (139).

First-year Samantha Harting (Laguna Beach, Calif./Laguna Beach) paced Pace with 16 kills and seven blocks, and classmate Kayla Witwer (Southlake, Texas/Carroll) had 15 kills and 19 digs. First-year Ashley DiFulvio (Lakewood, Colo./Dakota Ridge) notched 12 kills and 13 digs, classmate Miki Carver (Oceanside, Calif./Fallbrook) dished 46 assists, and sophomore Rebecca Italiano (East Rockaway, N.Y./East Rockaway) totaled 22 digs.

After a Harting kill brought the Setters within 4-3 in the opening set, Covitz notched consecutive kills to spark a 5-0 run, and the Purple Knights never again led by fewer than three points. Set No. 2 saw Saint Michael's stage a late comeback from down 21-10 to eventually grab a 25-24 thanks to a 15-3 run, but Pace scored the final three points. In a 1-1 match, the hosts fought off the Setters in a long third set that involved 16 ties, as neither squad led by more than three points. After deadlocks at 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28, Saunders and Covitz dropped back-to-back kills to account for the final two points. In the fourth set, Pace pulled ahead by a 15-9 count before the Purple and Gold countered with 16 of the final 22 points, with Maccarrone's ace giving the Purple Knights a 19-18 edge and the lead for good.

Saint Michael's completes a two-match home weekend by taking on Adelphi University tomorrow at 1 p.m.